The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) family of vehicles was developed by Oshkosh Defense for the US Army and Marine Corps to replace the ageing fleet of Humvees that have been in service since 1985.
As a modelling subject, JLTV is available in 1/35 scale from three different manufacturers, all brand-new kits released in 2022/2023. Although Rye Field Model and Sabre Model kits originally include vinyl tires, both companies offer their own aftermarket resin replacement wheels. I Love Kit, on the other hand, does not… Enter DEF Model and their US JLTV Sagged Wheel Set (DW35153).
The set is packed in a side-opening hard cardboard box. The front of the box features a box-art image showing the wheels installed on the model, stating the set is designed for I Love Kit offering and that it includes 5 resin parts and easy mask seal.
Opening the box reveals a zip-lock bag with resin pieces, a couple of wheel masking sheets and masking instructions.
The wheels are cast in grey resin. The cast is superb, and I found no defects of any kind in the resin, no seam lines to clean or air bubbles to fill. The spare tire had a thin flash film covering the central rim opening which fell off on its own after taking the first review photos. The pieces feature a ton of details all around: tire tread, sidewall embossing, rim bolts… all these are well defined and perfectly delivered.
The part cleanup should be pretty much straightforward for anyone with basic resin working skills. The casting blocks are attached to the bottom of the road wheels, at ground contact, thus ensuring no scars would be visible once the wheels are attached to the model. The casting block on the spare tire features intelligently designed attachment supports, which follow the tire tread pattern. If the block is removed patiently, there a minimal chance of messing up the tread details. I would suggest side cutters and a sharp blade, followed by careful sanding.
After these general remarks on the set, let’s dive in a bit deeper…
This set depicts Michelin XZL 365/80R20 tire, all-terrain, all-position radial for special service such as emergency response vehicles and tactical wheeled vehicles. The tire features non-directional tread design and tubeless construction compatible with Central Tire Inflation systems, and has dimensions of 1096 x 372 mm (43.1 x 14.6 in).
After gathering info and references on the tire and inspecting 1/35 scale offering from DEF Model up close and personal, I must say I’m impressed with how well the scale model compares to the real thing. The complex tire tread pattern is faithfully reproduced, as well as sidewall embossing detail with MICHELIN X, 365/80R20 XZL and even the microscopic RADIAL inscriptions clearly identifiable under magnification. The intricate bolt pattern on the rim is realistically delivered with the bolts perfectly defined, and with what appears to be the Central Tire Inflating System (CTIS) cap. Last but not least, the dimensions of 31,30 x 10,65 mm confirm perfectly sized 1/35 scale tires.
As stated in the title of the set, the road wheels are depicted sagged and with a slight bulge at the tire ground contact. All DEF Model wheel sets feature the same effect, which I feel realistically depicts the compression of the tire due to the weight of the vehicle.
This set includes 2 slightly different road wheels, labelled A and B on their carrier blocks, two each. These wheel variants are differently oriented (regarding the tire ground contact, as well as the sidewall embossing), which ensures that the wheels A and B fitted to the same side of the vehicle do not look completely identical and repetitive, adding to the realism of the model.
The set also includes a spare tire.
Fitting the wheels:
This wheel set is designed to fit I Love Kit model. The central opening on the back of DEF replacement wheels should accommodate kit parts with no modifications necessary. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find I Love Kit instructions to verify this, so if someone used this set of resin wheels, please let me know how difficult it is to install them to the model.
Three pre-cut masking sheets are included in this kit. The masks are of help when painting the wheels, allowing airbrushing without overspray. The instruction leaflet shows two different ways of applying the masks and painting the wheels.
What’s not to like about this set? US JLTV Sagged Wheel Set (DW35153) from DEF Model delivers perfectly cast and superbly detailed resin replacement wheels (road wheels and spare tire) to use instead of the dreadful vinyl tires supplied in the I Love Kit offering.